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Ehinger’s return strengthens Chiefs offense

DEC 04 Chiefs at Falcons
(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire)

The good news was handed down from Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Monday when he announced that second-year guard Parker Ehinger has been removed from the pup list. Ehinger was back at practice on Monday that bodes well for the overall strength of the offense of line. It may also spell the end of the line for a player that sheets of come to rely on in recent seasons.

Ehinger has returned to a position group that is stronger than the one he left last season when he was injured against the Indianapolis Colts. Ehinger began the 2016 season as the starting left guard but he may not be able to return to that position immediately.

The team has been starting Bryan Witzmann at the left guard position to this point in the preseason. The team recently signed Witzmann to an extension keeping him under contract for the 2018 season. When Ehinger is back to full health, he and Witzmann will have a true competition to see who remains the starter lining up between Mitch Morse and Eric Fisher.

Reserve jack-of-all-trades lineman Zach Fulton took over for Ehinger and started the remainder of the season in 2016. Fulton has been consistently playing second string Left Guard and Center this preseason. That changed in last week’s practice. Fulton began getting practice reps at both tackle spots as well as Right Guard. Fulton is already an above-average interior backup.  If the team feels that Witzmann can be a serviceable swing tackle, it changes the equation.  The team may be forced to keep Witzmann, Ehinger, and Fulton. That would put the count at seven offense of lineman.

Could this be the end of the line for Jah Reid?

The player whom that scenario impacts the most is reserve tackle, Jah Reid. Reid has been the team swing tackle for two seasons but may be on the outs for a team with so much talented depth at multiple positions. The team may not be able to keep an 8th offensive lineman. Reid’s cap number is $3.56 million this season. His base salary is $2.25 million. He is likely battling reserves Andrew Tiller and Jordan Devey for a possible 8th position in the offensive line group. Releasing Reid would save the team $2.78 million in cap space,  according to Overthecap.com.

 

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A University of Kansas grad, Ryan is an Exercise Physiologist and NSCA-certified Strength & Conditioning Coach and data analyst. Ryan founded Rogue Analytics Consulting and developed the Athletic Matrix TM. His focus is player evaluation, roster building, and team management. Ryan has lived in every city in the old AFC West, including Seattle. Follow @RyanTracyNFL for more Chiefs and NFL coverage.

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